Like most things, there is a bell curve for being nice and for being cruel.
Most bosses are somewhere in the good zone.
Not too cruel and not too nice. But a nice place where they avoid the trappings of both. They are able to teach and get results from their teams, but not at the expense of burning people out or leaving long-term damage to the brand.
But what if you feel you’re being too mean with your team? And that you’re looking to change it?
Here are a few tips for being nicer to employees…
#1. Identify Motivations
Your own and those of each of your employees. The ones you work with directly, but as many as you can.
Everybody has individual motivations.
You see it all the time in sports. Especially the NFL, arguably the sport most reliant on a strong team. Where the most important player, the quarterback, is often on the field for less than half the plays.
NFL players are competitive. They want to succeed. They want, like most people, individual success. But talent and individual success rarely leads to team success.
For example, the wide receiver with the most catches and most receiving yards is rarely on the team that wins the Super Bowl. Same for the running back with the most rushing yards or even the quarterback with the most passing yards and touchdowns.
The best coaches find a way to identify individual motivations and align those with the overall team goals.
As for being nice, the more you understand yourself and your employees, the better you can connect, lead and succeed. That usually leads to nicer communications.
#2. State The Beacon For Your Decisions
One of the reasons for animosity between boss and employee is a lack of understanding. Usually because each party doesn’t know why the other party is making certain decisions.
Some bosses don’t know why they make decisions.
Hopefully you do and you let your team know what it is.
I like the show Yellowstone with Kevin Costner. One of the things made very clear in the show is that nearly all of the decisions Costner’s character makes is to save the ranch for his family’s future generations.
When you identify your beacon, employees understand and the more they understand the less confrontation there usually is.
A nicer, but not pushover status, type of situation.
#3. Say What You Want
When people don’t know what you want it’s more likely that they won’t do what you want. That can obviously lead to animosity and you acting cruel toward them.
So understand if you’re telling your employees what you want. If not, make it a point to take control of the situation and ask for it. If there are still issues, look at what you’re saying and how you’re saying it and try to make it as clear as possible.
#4. Take Time
If you are prone to outbursts, look to take time to react to negative situations.
Even a few seconds or an extra minute can make a big difference. Good things rarely happen when you’re acting on impulse and emotion in regards to your employees.
If you’re prone to cruelty, this is especially important.
#5. What Do You Control?
Finally, it’s important to understand what you control in the situations with your employees. You want to be nice, but not a pushover. You want to focus on action more than talk.
If an employee brings out the worst in you realize that you’re the one that hired them. Or if you didn’t hire them, you probably have the control to fire them.
Focus on what you can change first.
Being nice is important. You can focus on the little things like watching what you say, trying to avoid immature language and name-calling and things like that.
But usually the issue of cruelty has a deeper genesis. Look at what causes your anger. Especially with your employees. Try to figure out what you control and how you can change the situation so it leads to an overall nicer environment.